1. You were involved with the Alberta MS Network (endMS) during your time as a PhD Candidate at the University of Calgary. For you, what was the most beneficial aspect of the Network? Can you also highlight your time now in Edmonton and the program you are a part of there.
There were many great aspects about being part of the Alberta MS Network during the course of my PhD at the University of Calgary, but I would have to say the people involved in the Network were the best part. Everyone shared a commitment to high quality, impactful MS research and it was a huge privilege to be a part of that. The research being done at the universities across Alberta is cutting edge and I think in some way that is due to the structure of the Alberta MS Network which really helps promote collaboration between institutions and different research fields. It was also wonderful to be able to hear about all of this work on a regular basis at the Alberta MS Network retreats.
I completed the joint MD/PhD program (Leaders in Medicine) at the University of Calgary in June 2017 and have now moved onto my (five year) residency in Neurology at the University of Alberta since July 2017. My primary focus for the next five years is on my clinical training as a future neurologist, but I have maintained ties to research and anticipate conducting research throughout my residency training.
2. Can you tell us a little more about your current position and the work you are doing?
Since July 2017, I have been a Neurology Resident Physician at the University of Alberta, after having completed both my MD and PhD at the University of Calgary. I am training to become a neurologist which is typically a five year residency. This entails seeing patients with MS and other neurological diseases. Although I am dedicated full-time to gaining the skills and competency to be a full-fledged neurologist for the next few years, I still try to remain engaged with research and the literature, including in the MS research world. We do have the option of having some dedicated time during residency to do research, so I will be conducting research during this dedicated time, and with whatever other time I can find during my residency! My ultimate goal is to be a physician-scientist in neurology, caring for patients with neurological illnesses (including MS) and doing research on these conditions to help improve diagnosis, treatment and ultimately, patient care and outcomes.
3. Do you have any advice for our trainees?
Engage heavily with the Alberta MS Network and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you to get involved. We are privileged to have a really well-run Network with regular events to interact with fellow trainees, professors, clinicians, and those living with MS. I felt like I was part of a community with my fellow MS research colleagues, and have maintained ties with them even though many of us have moved onto different places and different lines of work. I also really enjoyed volunteering with the Network during graduate school, and my time volunteering gave me other opportunities that otherwise may not have presented themselves.
4. Any other information that you would like to share.
Doing MS research and being part of the Network was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me as a trainee. I was trained by world renown scientists, surrounded by other world renown scientists at regular Network retreats, and met many intelligent, capable and motivated trainees. I also had the privilege of meeting those living with MS and hearing their perspectives on research and how it is to live with the disease. My time as a trainee at the Alberta MS Network impacted me greatly, and I have no doubt that it will contribute to making me a better neurologist and physician-scientist in the future.
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